With little fanfare, these communities are taking steps to lighten their carbon paw prints. Check out their solutions and see if they might work in your location.
– Denali National Park in Alaska has been composting dog waste from its kennel since 1980! The resulting compost (“jam packed with nutrients”) is used to beautify local flowerbeds and gardens.
– Calgary accepts pet waste in its residential green bin program as long as it’s contained in a compostable bag. Strict testing to meet Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment Guidelines for Compost Quality is also conducted to ensure the compost is safe to use.
– The town of Gilbert, Arizona teamed up with Arizona State University to implement a dog waste biodigestion system at Cosmo Dog Park. (This project was inspired by Park Spark, a temporary interactive art installation at Pacific Street Park in Cambridge, Massachusetts that used methane from biodigested dog waste to light a park lamp.)
– The City of Surrey has developed a Dog Off Leash Area Strategy, 2012-2021, that includes a Waste Management section comparing potential future solutions.
– The City of Vancouver took a serious look at composting as a way to deal with the growing volume of dog waste in its public parks – see “Dealing with Dog Waste in Vancouver Parks / Preliminary Research for Dog Waste Composting at Everett Crowley Park,” LEES + Associates Landscape Architects. (No longer posted; contact the City of Vancouver.) The search for solutions continues. “The city’s 11,800 kilograms of dog waste produced each year is too much for garbage collectors.”
– Metro Vancouver will continue to pay contractors to cut open dig waste pick-up bags and stream the contents to a sewage treatment facility. This is just one of several innovative solutions for recycling dog park waste that the city is pursuing to achieve near zero waste.
– Metro Vancouver instructs multi-pet operations to stream pet waste to their closest transfer station or wastewater treatment plant. Dog waste and cat waste accepted at wastewater treatment plants cannot be mixed with clay litter, sand, rock, grit or any kind of bag, including biodegradable.
– The City of Whistler contracts with a local compost facility which transforms dog waste from its park red bins into topsoil. Their Pick Up Protocol (PUP) program provides compostable bags along with signs, bins and composting services. The compost is tested in accordance with RMW guidelines and meets provincial requirements for Class A compost.
– Comparative Analysis of Dog Waste Processing Methods for Metro Vancouver (August 2018) is an in-depth study of various municipal dog waste treatment options that have spun off Vancouver’s successful program. The survey considers the pros and cons of anaerobic digestion (AD), composting, and AD followed by composting.
– In 2016 Potrero’s Star King Open Space kicked off a first-of-its-kind system in San Francisco for composting dog waste designed to demonstrate how 32 million pounds of waste from an estimated 120,000 dogs could be diverted from the local landfill each year. Although this plan would have moved the city closer to its goal of zero waste, the project was not permanently implemented.
California law prohibits the sale of a plastic bag or plastic food or beverage container that is labeled as “biodegradable,” “degradable,” “decomposable,” or as otherwise specified, eliminating dog waste pick-up bag marketing fraud.
Chesapeake Bay watershed
– In 2015 pet owners in the Chesapeake Bay watershed could apply for funds to purchase dog waste recycling systems that will divert waste and improve water quality. Online references have been removed.
– Boulder Open Spaces and Mountain Parks is now working with Pet Scoop and EnviroWagg to collect and compost dog waste at 17 of its most accessible hiking trail heads. See the 2014 OSMP video featuring the pilot program at the first three trail heads.
– EnviroWagg composts dog waste from many Front Range pet businesses plus off-leash parks in The City of Boulder, Boulder County. Lafayette, Louisville, Superior and Thornton.
– The Denver Zoo’s unique gasification project was ready to turn 750 tons of animal waste produced annually into energy. A neighborhood campaign has put the brakes on the $3.3 million process.
– Hillsboro County completed an extensive study including surveys and focus groups in an effort to learn more about stoop and scoop practices, concluding that more research is needed regarding diversion from landfills.
– Rockville encourages owners to flush their pet waste down the toilet. Please don’t follow the advice re flushing cat waste. Do not flush cat litter near natural water sources where runoff can pollute. Pathogens in cat waste are destructive to aquatic wildlife. Keep cat waste away from untreated water as the feces may contain Toxoplasma gondii, a disease agent affecting otters.
– Park Spark was a temporary installation at Pacific Dog Park in Cambridge that attracted widespread attention when it was initiated by Matthew Mazzotti in 2010. This compelling project transformed dog waste into energy (methane) through a publicly fed methane digester that fueled a gaslight.
– The Joplin Recycling Center gave residents instructions on making a dog waste digester from a plastic garbage can or bucket and lid at their demonstrations in honor of America Recycles Day, Nov. 15, 2016. Dog waste digesters benefit homeowners, neighbors and the environment because they prevent rainwater from washing the waste and bacteria into storm drains and polluting waterways.
– A pilot partnership between dog owners and a compost company in Ithaca, N.Y. completed a large-scale composting of waste collected at the city’s dog park. The multi-year project produced safe compost which was donated for municipal use. See the Ithaca video.
– The Williamsburg East River State Park in Brooklyn is testing the feasibility of on-site dog waste composting using scoopers and cedar bins. “Dog waste in and of itself doesn’t have any value…so we decided to create value out of it by upcycling it to fertilizer,” Leslie Wright of the New York State Parks Department said.
– Battery Park City’s zero waste initiatives includes a program that composts waste for the park’s three dog runs using two retrofitted Earth Cubes manufactured by Green Mountain Technologies.
– Halifax and other nearby Canadian municipalities require residents to toss compostables, including pet waste, into clear bags so that collectors ensure that items meet composting criteria. New rules ask Halifax clients to deposit pet waste loose or in small clear plastic bags.
– Hearthmakers Energy Cooperative in Kingston holds seminars teaching pet owners how to compost dog and cat waste to keep it out of waterways.
– The city of Toronto is aiming at 70% residential waste diversion with the assistance of its Green Bin Program – From Curb to Compost. Pet waste and disposable diapers may be included with other organic Green Bin waste.
– Based on a 2006 City of Toronto waste audit, the city found that dog waste is the largest litter stream by weight in its parks. As a consequence Toronto piloted a Green Bin Dog Waste Plan at several city parks that collects and processes this waste stream.
– The Region of Waterloo’s curbside green bin organics collection program accepts dog waste and kitty litter, as well. The region asks residents not to toss loose waste in the green bin. All waste should be wrapped in newspaper or paper towel, or bagged in a compostable bag. More solutions from Waterloo’s Karen Scian.
– Waterloo’s new dog poop power pilot project promises to unleash pet waste as a renewable energy resource that will provide residential electricity.
– City of Ottawa regulations urge pet owners to flush dog waste into the sewer system. The city accepts cat litter in its Green Bin composting program but trash collectors collect dog waste only if it makes up 10% or less by volume of garbage.
– A 2018 contract between the City of Ottawa and its waste hauler, Orgaworld, would include provisions for including dog waste and plastic in its residential green bin program. Items included in green bins are diverted from the landfill and streamed to the company’s compost site.
– A Pacific Shellfish Institute feasibility study, Anaerobic Digestion and Other Alternatives for Dog Waste Management and Education in Thurston County, provides an overview of current academic, governmental and commercial efforts to divert dog waste from landfills.
– In an effort to mitigate dog waste from trails, The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County has introduced simple in-ground septic stations to recycle dog waste at Stateline Woods Preserve.
– Volunteers at Notre-Dame-de-Grace Dog Run in Montreal successfully composted dog waste on-site for five years, a program documented in a Concordia University study by Nemiroff_Patterson.
– Dog walkers on the Malvern Hills are being encouraged to drop the waste into an anaerobic digester that converts it into methane to fuel a street lamp.
– Brattleboro, Vermont has installed a Project COW (Community Organic Waste) container at the fairgrounds where residents deposit compostable waste including unrecyclable paper, food scraps, pet waste, and yard/garden waste.
– Green Pet Composting meets pet waste removes and composts pet waste for residences and businesses from Seattle, Washington to Portland, Oregon.